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Ring brooch

  • Place of origin:

    Vierlande (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt base with silver filigree overlay set with pastes

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery, case 71, shelf D, box 4

Ring brooches are the commonest kind of traditional brooch in northern Europe. They can be circular or heart-shaped, and their design dates from the Middle Ages. They differ from modern brooches in the way they fasten. The wearer pulls the cloth of the garment through the central hole, and then spears it with the pin. The greater the strain on the pin, the more secure the fastening.

Ring brooches from the Vierlande are usually large and circular. Women wore them at the neck of their shirt, to keep it fastened. On working days they wore a plain silver brooch, usually decorated with an engraved design. On feast days, they swapped the everyday brooch for a much more elaborate one, like this, decorated with applied filigree, gilding and coloured pastes. Both kinds of brooch often have names or initials, and dates, engraved on the back, showing that they were originally betrothal or wedding gifts. These inscriptions are almost always scratched or stippled by the bride or groom themselves, not professionally engraved.

Physical description

Flat, circular, slightly convex, silver-gilt ring brooch, with an overlay of silver filigree coils set with four red pastes.

Place of Origin

Vierlande (made)


1800-1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt base with silver filigree overlay set with pastes

Marks and inscriptions

Presumably the initials of the original owner.
Stippled on back in cursive script.


Diameter: 7.2 cm, Depth: 1.0 cm

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt circular ring brooch (Hemdspange) with filigree overlay and red pastes, Vierlande (North Germany), 1800-1870.


Silver; Silver-gilt; Paste




Jewellery; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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